Alisha Tatham represented Canada as a member of the women’s basketball team during the Summer Olympics in London. Prior to being an Olympian Tatham spent a year as a member of coach Roy Rana’s staff, and routinely practiced with Ryerson’s men’s basketball team to help prepare for the games. We caught up with Tatham to ask her about her Olympic journey.
How did you get involved with the men’s team?
Moving up towards the Olympics, I really wanted to work on a few of my skills. My brother (Patrick) is an assistant coach on the team, and I knew Coach Rana through the national team program. So I asked if I could come and practice with the guys. It was a chance for me to get better, and they didn’t hesitate (to say yes).
What was it like to be part of the opening ceremony at the Olympics?
I think that’s one of the most exciting parts [of the Olympics]. When we got all our Canada gear and got together as a nation right in front of our building, there was so much energy. When we got into the stadium, we were walking as one. I loved it. It’s an exhilarating moment that no one can take away from me.
What sort of interaction did you have with other teams in the Olympic village?
We had a week before the games started so we went out and got to see the village, and there was this giant Connect-4. We started playing, and then some members of the Chinese national team came over, so it was China versus Canada, even though it wasn’t basketball. I got to see some of the NBA players, Serena Williams – who I’m a huge fan of –, [and] Michael Phelps. It was such a weird feeling because these are elite athletes that I’ve looked up to or watched for years, and I’m standing in line with them to get pasta. [But] you just say “hi” or “what’s up”. It was cool.
What’s it like playing against an American team stacked with WNBA stars like Candace Parker and Diana Taurasi?
It’s a very challenging matchup, because they’re so good at every spot. They’re so good at everything they do, so it’s very hard to find any weaknesses in Team USA. But we love to play them. They’re the best, so it helps us measure where we’re at.
Are you looking forward to another Olympics?
I am. I would really love to go to Rio (de Janeiro in 2016). Nothing tops an Olympics except an Olympics with medals. A lot of us got our feet wet this time, but we know what we want and we know how to get there.